Human Rights and Healthy Secularity
Journal of Catholic Social Thought, 7:2 (2010): 231-251
21 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2011 Last revised: 16 Jun 2012
Date Written: February 2, 2010
This paper assesses the idea of "healthy secularity" that Pope Benedict has invoked on a number of occasions. It reads healthy secularity as an extension of seminal themes within Catholic social thought that define the terms of the church's engagement with modernity and liberal politics. An important impulse within modern Catholic social thought has been to open the church to the modern world. Benedict's invocation of the language of the secular continues this impulse but equally represents a move to deepen the points of contact. While Catholic social thought has had much to say about the conditions of modernity, it has generally avoided an explicit encounter with the language and concept of the secular. The paper concludes by considering how the idea of healthy secularity might shape the tradition of Catholic thinking about human rights.
Keywords: Secularism, Secular, Secularity, Healthy Secularism, Human Rights, Benedict, Pope Benedict, Catholic Social Thought, Europe, Religion, Liberalism, Dignitatis, Gaudium et Spes, Freedom, Caritas
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